TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It seems that nothing – least of all a little gallows humor from teammates – bothers Florida State sophomore kicker Roberto Aguayo, who enjoyed another perfect Saturday afternoon at the expense of the opposition.
Converting all five of his field goal attempts in FSU’s 43-3 rout of Wake Forest, Aguayo broke Graham Gano’s school record for consecutive field goal conversions. He has now converted 21 consecutive tries, zooming past Gano’s mark of 18, set in 2008.
“It’s amazing what that guy can do,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “You know you can get those points and he just goes out there and kicks them.”
The 2013 Lou Groza Award winner improved to 33-of-34 on career field goal attempts, with his lone blemish coming from 43 yards against Wake Forest on Nov. 9 of last season.
“You know what’s funny, Sean Maguire jokes with me,” Aguayo said. “Today, he was like, ‘Uh, oh, Wake Forest. You missed last year against Wake Forest.’ After the fourth field goal I told Sean, ‘I haven’t missed.’ He said, ‘Next one. You’re going to miss the next one.’”
He didn’t. Aguayo’s 32-yarder with 4:53 remaining closed out a career-best 19-point scoring performance.
Aguayo had no idea his 52-yard field goal to open the second half pushed him past Gano.
“I never thought about it,” Aguayo said. “I never added it up. I just take it day by day. That’s exciting news for me.”
His performance drew praise from Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston.
“I would just sit back and hope that Florida State kicks field goals to see this guy kick field goals,” Winston said in his postgame press conference. “He’s such a key asset to our team. I think he’s probably the best offensive player in the country, in my opinion. He’s so talented, and we’re blessed to have him.”
Asked if he’s kicking as well as at any point in his career, Aguayo said:
“Yeah, I feel like I’m pretty consistent right now hitting the ball. I feel good right now; better than ever. I’m excited about next week.”
Edwards getting comfortable in new role
There was a time not long ago when Mario Edwards Jr. blanched at suggestion that he might be a greater asset to the Seminoles lined up at defensive tackle.
“I’ve been comfortable inside, but for a long time I didn’t really want to do it, because I always thought it was for big guys, fat guys,” Edwards said. “After buying into it and just playing, I enjoy playing down there and standing up and doing things like that…Once I figured it out, I was good.”
Edwards, a defensive end by trade and desire, flourished inside against Wake Forest in FSU’s nickel and dime packages, teaming with Eddie Goldman, while speedy youngsters Lorenzo Featherston and Jacob Pugh lined up on the edges. He finished with five tackles, include a sack among his three tackles for loss, and chipped in a forced fumble to FSU’s dominating defensive effort.
“You put Eddie and Mario inside, then you’ve got that athleticism on the edge with the power inside,” Fisher said. “It gives us a whole different dimension.”
And it’s one FSU defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri plan on using moving forward, highlighting Edwards’ versatility.
“I talked to Coach Sal today and Coach Kelly and said, ‘Man, are we going to be like this in these two packages the rest of the season?’” Edwards said. “They said, ‘Yeah, buddy.’ … I’m starting to like it. They always told me you’re not going to like it at first, but when you start making plays and you have success at that position, you’ll start seeing why we want you to go here, stand up and do these things.”
Featherston shines in first career start
Earning his first start, Featherston was creating mayhem on the field right from the start against Wake Forest, setting the tone for FSU’s dominating effort.
In the opening quarter alone the North Carolina native, who tagged with the nickname “Condor” because of his 7-foot-3 wing span, had 2.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
“That’s the guy,” said Edwards, who has taken Featherston under his win. “I talk to him throughout the game all the time. I just tell him to continue to play; chase the ball.”
Featherston finished second on the team with seven tackles, trailing only Reggie Northrup’s eight.
Northrup finds paydirt
With his eight tackles, Northrup took over sole possession of the team lead with 43 on the year, edging ahead of Terrance Smith who sat out Saturday’s game. And while the Jacksonville native has been consistently productive racking up stops this season, he added his first FSU career touchdown in the third quarter.
Northrup pried the ball from Wake Forest tailback Isaiah Robinson and raced 31 yards into the end zone, pushing the Seminoles’ lead to 30-3 with 4:55 remaining in the third quarter.
“He [Robinson] was running with the ball loose, so I made sure I stripped it, picked it up and scooped and scored like we practice,” said Northrup.
It was FSU’s second defensive touchdown of the season for the Seminoles and the first since Nate Andrews’ interception return for a score against Oklahoma State in the opener.